Volkswagen Chair Isn’t Giving Up on Diesel, BMW Recommits as Well
“Diesels Can Be Clean,” Says VW Exec
Volkswagen and BMW are both remaining committed to diesel passenger cars in the United States, if new reports are to be believed. Running contrary to remarks from industry insiders, executives from both of those companies see a future in U.S.-market light-duty diesels.
Speaking at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas yesterday, Volkswagen brand CEO Dr. Herbert Diess apologized for the company’s current diesel emissions scandal, recognizing the 11 million cars affected worldwide and acknowledging the company’s breach of trust with the car-buying public.
“The current issue with the diesel engines is certainly nothing to be proud of,” a frank Diess said to the assembled crowd. “We disappointed our customers and the American people, for which I am truly sorry and for which I apologize.”
With a solution already approved by European authorities, Volkswagen has only the U.S. regulations to satisfy, with stricter nitrogen emissions standards and looser carbon standards. “We are committed to making things right,” Diess said. The full content of Diess' CES remarks, including an overview of the company's electric-vehicle and connectivity plans, is available below.
In spite of the blowback Volkswagen has experienced, Diess and the company remain committed to diesel vehicles, even in the U.S. According to Automotive News, Diess told reporters on the sidelines of his keynote address that new clean diesel remains a priority, thanks to the fuel’s intrinsic efficiency, high torque, long range, and new emissions technologies.
A similar statement from BMW’s director of research and development suggests the same philosophy. “We have no reason to give up on diesel,” Dr. Klaus Frölich said to Australian magazine Motoring. He said that one third of the company’s U.S.-bound X cars are equipped with diesel engines, indicating that the company’s oil-burning customers are diesel enthusiasts unlikely to switch to gasoline-powered or plug-in vehicles any time soon.
That’s good news for Americans loyal to diesel, but it remains to be seen if others will forgive diesel for Volkswagen’s scandal. Many current TDI drivers are skeptical late adopters who chose diesel for its newfound green-car cred, and with those accolades stripped away, they may not want to give diesel from any automaker a second chance. The buying public may very well punish the diesel masses for Volkswagen’s sins. Still, it’s good to know the companies will remain loyal to diesel, even if the car-buying public doesn’t.